Letters, We Get Mail, XXVII

Date: Thu, October 20, 2005
Subject: Your Website & My Experience with the CULT of Doom

Hi, AO —

I just discovered your website today and I am just totally impressed with all of your info and documentation. I was a member of the "AA Cult" for seven years — I joined when I was a vulnerable 18 year old and stayed around long enough to witness so much sick, twisted, despicable behavior by allegedly "recovering" individuals; I want to vomit just thinking of some of the things I saw (especially the sexual exploitation of women)! Unfortunately, I, like some of your other correspondents, have had the experience of knowing too many people who ate shotguns while "sober;" the love of my young life stuck his head under a train while "working the steps." And of course, the cult members made every hideous suicide all about themselves and "the program!"

I have to tell you, up until I left the cult or "got cured" as they like to say of us dissenters, my life was going nowhere, I was in and out of psychiatric hospitals, broke, alone, fat — I was a TOTAL LOSER. Then, I pulled the ten-thousandth knife out of my back and decided to grow up! Amazing things happened — I was offered a terrific new job, completed my college degree (and completed two more after that)! finally met a decent guy, had a family, now have my dream career, travel around the world, etc., etc., etc. All I had to do was get AWAY from those sick, twisted bastards.

I haven't touched a drop of alcohol or any drugs for 12 years and I know the secret cure for those who may be looking for answers in all the wrong places: If you want to stop drinking, don't drink! If you don't want to use drugs, don't take, snort, smoke, buy, manufacture, or distribute them. Do what I did — GROW THE HELL UP! Again, thanks for all the good info and take care... don't let the bastards get to you!

Stephanie, Northern California

Hi Stephanie,

Thanks for all of the compliments, and thanks for brightening my day with a success story. Glad to hear that you escaped from hell and got a better life.

I'm in a good mood, too. Your letter arrived on my anniversary. Yes, 5 years off of alcohol as of today, October 20. (And off of drugs, too.) It's a good day for celebrating victories (in some quiet manner, of course).

Have a good day, and a good life.

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Foisting ineffective quack medicine on sick people is not
** a wonderful noble act of self-sacrifice to help others;
** it is the reprehensible behavior of a damned fool.

Date: Thu, October 20, 2005

Hi A.O, I want to share this bit of Oxford, AA, history with you and get your take on it.

Hey Rick,

Have you ever read the book 'Not God' by Kurtz? When it comes to the history of AA, it contains a slightly different version of history from official story of how the fellowship grew. I've read some stuff on Frank Buchman and he was very much the Pat Robertson of his day. His own ego caught up to him and the Oxfords became mirred in controversy. From what I understand, it was Frank Buchman himself that requested that the alcoholics take a hike from the Oxford meetings. The revisionist history makes it out like the first hundred had an ephaney and decided to split form the Oxfords when in fact it was that didn't to have anything to do with Bill and his band of drunks.

That's my rant for today. I hope all is well with you on your end.

Peace Shalom

Hi Ric,

Yes, I have a similar take on it. I don't recall anything that explicitly documented Frank Buchman giving the order to kick Bill Wilson out of the Oxford Group, but there is no doubt that Frank would not have liked Bill's style. Frank Buchman wanted to be surrounded by millionaires and kings, not by shabby penniless alcoholics, so there is little doubt that Bill would have soon grated on Frank Buchman's nerves. It must have been downright embarrassing for Frank Buchman to have ragged derelicts following him around and crashing his parties.

In addition, Bill told the story that some of the Oxford Group leaders conducted a "Quiet Time" with him, and received a "Guidance" from above that said that Bill was supposed to stop working with alcoholics. Bill refused to follow that order.

It looks like both Frank Buchman and Sam Shoemaker kept their skirts clean by having underlings get rid of Wilson and the alcoholics.

In his book Bill W., Robert Thomsen wrote that Sam Shoemaker let one of his assistants do the dirty work for him while Shoemaker was conveniently absent.

At large Oxford Group meetings, the Wilsons heard that they were "not maximum" and that someone had ordered that no more alcoholics from the Calvary Mission should attend the Oxford Group meetings at Bill's house.

At one Sunday service at Sam Shoemaker's church, Bill and Lois Wilson found that they were the subject of the sermon. Sam Shoemaker's assistant preacher accused Bill Wilson of having ulterior motives and of building a deviant cult or group of his own within the Oxford Group.

Bill and Lois considered that to be an expulsion from the Oxford Group, so they quit the Group and took their alcoholics with them. They continued having meetings at their house on Clinton Street, just the same as before, but they didn't have a name for their new group, for a while. It was still Buchmanism, without the name or Frank Buchman.

Note that Robert Thomsen wrote Bill W. based on a set of autobiographical tape recordings that Bill made before his death. So that story in fact comes straight from Bill Wilson.

The story that Bill had an epiphany and saw a higher mission than the Oxford Group sounds like just some more of Bill's minimization and denial, and telling tall tales, wanting to gloss over the fact that Bill Wilson was actually kicked out of something.

There are a few more details here.

Thanks for an interesting question, and have a good day.

== Orange

Date: Fri, October 21, 2005 11:20 am

hi orange..

i got sober 15years ago, went to AA for 2years, then quit all that AA Cult , abuse, gossip, finger pointing, Control & Fear, and that thing that Alkies are the Centre of The Universe, "the AA experts" told me if you miss meetings you WILL Drink, & Many of the Members who went to AA Meetings every Day & Night got Drunk, i was so Confused by The AA Fellowship, I QUIT going to meetings & have stopped drinking all together, AA is too Mad for Me, I have went on my own journey and had a ball....

Marie... Boston

Hi Marie,

Far out. Glad to hear that you are doing well. Have a good day.

== Orange

Date: Fri, October 21, 2005
From: "Sir Lancelot"
Subject: Good Morning!

Dear Mr Orange,

I came across your website quite by accident. After reading some but not all of the material you presented, I can understand why Yahoo shut the website down.

Your writings indicate that you are full of hate, resentment, fear, and intolerance. I did not find love, patience, nor kindness in your writings. From your writings, you do not seem to be a very nice person.

My hope and prayer is that you do not drink and if you are already drunk, my hope and pray is that you will get sober.

If you do or if you are already ready drunk, I hope you do not kill someone or yourself in the process. Alcoholism is a dangerous disease and to assume any other position is to take a very dangerous position. >From my own experience, when a person has the level of unresolved anger and resentment that your website indicates that you have, this person eventual drinks. And if they drink they end up dying from their drinking or getting locked up in jails or institutions from their drinking. We do not need AA to prove this fact. All we have to do is look the results of unresolved alcoholism throughout history.

All I have to offer you is my own experience as a recovered alcoholic, based on my own life and the lives of my friends and family.

I feel for you .. I will pray for you ... I will pray that you come to grips with your own apparent suffering, your fellow sufferers, and the God of your understanding.

May God bless you and keep you!
Thanks for your time,
A concerned reader of your website.

Hi Lancelot,

Thanks for the letter.

Apparently you read some of those sections where I pretty harshly condemn quacks who foist cult religion and misinformation about alcoholism on sick people, and many of them actually get paid to do it by the city, state, and federal governments.

I think it is a despicable crime to make money by hurting sick people.
I think it is a despicable crime to deceive people in the name of God.

My anger at such immoral behavior has not made me drink alcohol. It made me write a bunch of web pages to get the truth out there. My sobriety is doing just fine, thank you anyway.

I don't even understand why I am not supposed to feel contempt and anger at criminals who hurt people. Can you explain that?

Can you explain why the A.A. approach to problem-solving amounts to passively letting criminals run the "recovery industry"?

(Oh, I have a pretty good idea of why you think that I shouldn't feel anything. It's because Bill Wilson wrote that you are "axiomatically spiritually at fault" if you get disturbed by anything. Bill was full of bull. That is just cultish insistence that you should not feel your own feelings.)

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Foisting ineffective quack medicine on sick people is not
** a wonderful noble act of self-sacrifice to help others;
** it is the reprehensible behavior of a damned fool.

Date: Fri, October 21, 2005
Subject: My View

After some 50 plus years of using alcohol ( I am 72) and, maybe, 20 of active "alcoholism", 12 detoxes, two 28-day rehabs, all under the thumb of 12-step philosophies, I feel qualified to comment about AA. I have done three 90/90's, spoken at AA meetings, run discussion groups and during it all I kept relapsing for some 12 years. Then I gave up on AA and now have been sober for some 14 years.

I feel that AA eventually caused me to relapse again and again. But I will not knock AA like some others do. After my first detox, I felt that AA saved my life. I had so much shame and remorse that I had serious thoughts of suicide. In the first AA meetings I saw people just like me, and my self esteem rose. Next couple of relapses AA still seemed like a light in the darkness that enveloped me.

But as time went on, AA became a reminder and trigger that I had a "disease", and caused me to give up and indulge. The problem is that AA continues to address shame and remorse, when a pragmatical look into the future and not a constant reminder is in order.

So, in my, admittedly limited, view, AA has a place for the newly remorseful individual, but fails miserably in serious long term "recovery".

M. Oval

Hi M.,

Thanks for the letter. It sure sounds to me like you are qualified to speak on the subject, so thanks for speaking on the subject.

And have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  Being surrounded by a group of people who keep telling
**  you that you are powerless over alcohol, and that your
**  will power is useless, is not getting "support".
**  It is getting sabotaged.
**  With friends like them, you don't need any enemies.

Date: Sun, October 23, 2005
Subject: Hi Orange


I had been a cult member for 2 years up to one month ago?

I just wanted to thank you personally for being a big part in my leaving the cult. When I first saw your site I was googling for information about egotistical sex predator AA oldtimer, and Orange was the first match.

I had a bad experience with one old-timer in particular, who was as described above.

Wouldn't it be great if we had a black list of nasty oldtimers?

Finding your site opened my eyes.

Paul W.

Hi Paul,

Thanks for the letter, and congratulations on your escape.

A list of nasty oldtimers sure sounds like it would be great, but alas, I don't see how it could really work. The first big gotcha is the anonymity and duplication of names. How many Johns and Freds and Toms and Dicks and Harrys are there in this country? Far too many for first names to identify anybody. The whole A.A. policy of anonymity helps the criminals to hide from identification.

Even adding the initial of the last name doesn't help much. And if we say something more specific like, "Harry K. of Cincinnatti", that still doesn't precisely identify the guy. He can always say that the bad guy is some other "Harry K". And he can move from one city to another. Sexual predators often do, after they have burned out one territory.

If we explicitly print the full name and address, then we'd better have rock-solid evidence that can stand up in court, to survive a libel lawsuit. (Not to mention a large legal defense fund.) If we had that kind of evidence about a sexual predator, then we could just turn it over to the police and let them get rid of the guy (like they did with my child-molesting 12-Step counselor.)

== Oh, which is something to think about. If you have evidence about a sexual predator, you should think about giving it to the police. You might save somebody else.

Have a good day, and a good life.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  Being surrounded by a group of people who keep telling
**  you that you are powerless over alcohol, and that your
**  will power is useless, is not getting "support".
**  It is getting sabotaged.
**  With friends like them, you don't need any enemies.

[2nd letter from Paul:]

Date: Thu, November 3, 2005
Subject: Copying and pasting info from your site

Dear Orange,

It just occurred to me you have a copyright for your site. I was wondering if I am in a debate with a stepper, is it ok to copy and paste portions of your site? I would indicate the source as orange-papers.info, thereby giving you more exposure?

Paul W

Hi again, Paul. I not only allow such redistribution and give-aways, I encourage it. "Carry the message" to the meeting-maker who still suffers, and all of that. Oh, and I do appreciate a link back to the original source so that people can find the rest of the stuff.

The same question was asked very recently, here, about printing stuff to give away at meetings. There, I listed the Lizard-Brain thoughts and jokes as two give-aways that I have already pre-formatted for easy printing.

Enjoy, and have a good day.

== Orange

Date: Sun, October 23, 2005
Subject: Tricycle's Daily Dharma - Forwarded by ptrmagee

Hail Secret Agent Man, Purveyor of Most Excellent Intelligence! This piece of wisdom I wanted to share with you since it reminds me so much of Jack T.'s AVRT, which is a good application of mindfulness itself.

Tricycle's Daily Dharma: October 21, 2005

Self Discipline and Patience
"Discipline" is a difficult word for most of us. It conjures up images of somebody standing over you with a stick, telling you that you're wrong. But self-discipline is different. It's the skill of seeing through the hollow shouting of your own impulses and piercing their secret. They have no power over you. It's all a show, a deception. Your urges scream and bluster at you; they cajole; they coax; they threaten; but they really carry no stick at all. You give in out of habit. You give in because you never really bother to look beyond the threat. It is all empty back there. There is only one way to learn this lesson, though. The words on this page won't do it. But look within and watch the stuff coming up — restlessness, anxiety, impatience, pain — just watch it come up and don't get involved. Much to your surprise, it will simply go away. It rises, it passes away. As simple as that. There is another word for self-discipline. It is patience.
—Henepola Gunaratana,
Mindfulness in Plain English

Hi ptrmagee,

Yes, wow, thanks for that note. That sounds exactly like that stupid little lizard brain addiction monster yelling for me to smoke a cigarette and drink a beer. This dharma is the same message, in a slightly different vocabulary. Good stuff.

One line that really resonates with me is the statement about a strong desire,
"Much to your surprise, it will simply go away. It rises, it passes away. As simple as that."

Yes. I find it downright odd how when I resist the urges and cravings, that they just evaporate. In ten seconds flat they are dead and gone. How strong can those "irresistable" cravings really be, if they are dead in 10 seconds when you fight them?

It's really funny when you realize that the desires don't even last as long as it takes to smoke one cigarette or drink one beer.

Thanks again for brightening my day, and have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  Being surrounded by a group of people who keep telling
**  you that you are powerless over alcohol, and that your
**  will power is useless, is not getting "support".
**  It is getting sabotaged.
**  With friends like them, you don't need any enemies.

Date: Tue, October 25, 2005
Subject: Thank you

Hi, was really choked to read all this truth about AA and its founders OMG did he really got 1500 dollars for writing that book, almost passed out when i read that and all that other dirty businees he was into

*brrrrrrrrr* , where is the world goin? i bet america soon cant trust their own president? (just kiddin ofc u can trust the ppl u vote for), i mean Bill W womanizing..... its discusting.

Have u checked on where Bill W where when john f was murdered, always thought that he had something to do whit that.

Keep up the good work (really dont have time myself, and my english is really too bad anyhow)

Joakim A

Hi Joakim,

Thanks for the compliments. And yes, it really is amazing and appalling what kind of a guy Bill Wilson was. Sometimes it is flat-out amazing how such creeps can become the leaders of huge successful cults. And yet they do. It doesn't seem to matter whether it's L. Ron Hubbard with Scientology, or Werner Erhard with EST, or Rev. Sun Myung Moon with his Unification Church, or Rev. Jim Jones and his Peoples' Temple — those monsters are enormously successful in becoming rich and famous.

But actually, the one single thing I am pretty sure Bill Wilson didn't have anything to do with was the conspiracy to kill JFK. ... :-)

Have a good day.

== Orange

Date: Mon, November 14, 2005
Subject: hmm....

Having read most of what you wrote on your site, i been in AA for almost 16 years and already knows most of the "hot" stuff u bring out here.

In other letter (s) you wrote that :Why is it that so many people assume that if I criticize a dishonest cult religion, that I am not spiritual or not recovering or not making changes or something?

And :*do it yourself

I really coudnt do it myself and i know i woudnt live today if it had been no AA, am i a lier in your eyes now?

Hello Joakim,

I don't think you are a liar. I think you are confused.

You confuse correlation with causation.

There is no evidence that A.A. saved your life, or that you would not be alive without A.A..

Now I would agree with a statement like "I would be dead if I had not stopped drinking." Yeh, I will agree with that.

But the fact that you like A.A. meetings does not prove or even suggest that they made you quit drinking.

The real reason you quit drinking is because you decided to quit drinking. You got tired of the pain. You got sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Am i weaker then you? less smart?

Are you sure that you been sober whitout AA? To me (after reading the LArge amount you wrote or collected on your site) you seems more obsessed bye the 12 step programs then any of the members i know of. How many hours of your 5 years have you spent on this site?

That's a false assumption. If someone works hard at something, and does a thorough job of it, he is "obsessed"? Would I be better off if I had spent all of those hours on 5 years of sitting in A.A. meetings?

P.S.: It's funny, really, when I think about it. I go on vacation from the hassles of this web site for nearly a whole year, and as soon as I come back and do a little more work, I hear that I am "obsessed with 12 step programs". If I were any less obsessed, I'd never get anything done.

On the statistic on succes rate in AA i want to mention one thing , Where i live the most talked about and "succesfull " treatment was called " hassela-treatment", In a statistic from 1980-1981 done bye the goverment it coud show up an 80% succes rate after 5 year, aint that great?

Please send the official report. Hearsay is worthless as evidence. You have to read all of the fine print to figure out if the results are faked or fraudulent or invalid.

Now ....i was in that group of drugaddicts we where 12 "patients" those years, in 1985 8 was dead, i know them all personal and i attended on most of their funerals.

Im now NOT easily impressed by statistics after that.

I am not impressed by statistics either, especially not the A.A. and N.A. statistics where they say that their program works great, and then you have to go to your friends' funerals anyway.

But you cannot dismiss all statistics as fraudulent. It's a matter of what they are reporting, and who is doing the reporting, and what their ulterior motives might be.

  1. When a report (often produced by some shill for a treatment center) says that some treatment program works great and produces lots of successes, it is probably a lie and a fraud.
  2. When a report says that some treatment didn't work at all, it is probably telling the truth.

Why? Because treatment does not work, that's why.

What works is people getting tired of the pain, and deciding to quit drinking.

A lot of what you wrote here is sure true , but after thought about it , i was thinking to myself "bill w was a sick alcoholic" it really doesnt shock me.

So my main question, im happy in my life whit AA and greatfull for that i belong there,

Am i wrong ? I must be if you are right.

Woud be great if u can estimeate the time you spent on this site , i will compare it to the time i spended on my frst 5 years om meetings e.t.c.

B. Rat

The fact that you enjoy the A.A. cult does not make it a good organization. And it doesn't make A.A. have a good success rate in curing alcoholics. You are again confusing cause and effect with correlation or coincidence.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

Date: Tue, October 25, 2005
Subject: Do you know?...

Agent Orange —

The more of your work I read, the more I like. I am trying to track down the origin (truth?) of a snippet of W.'s, supposedly published in one of the early essays in the Grapevine Rag (April of 1949, I think) that quotes him as saying something to the effect of: "We do not propose that 'our' way is the 'only' way to obtain sobriety." Do you know anything about this?

I also find it interesting to note that two of A.A.'s most cherished precepts make no sense to at least one-fourth of the worlds population, that being those in the Far East. There is no cultural concept of either an "HP" or of "powerlessness."

Keep up the good work and keep on stirring the pot!

There is, btw, a good read available titled: "Addiction is a Choice" by Dr. (Ph.D type) Jeffery Schaler that you might find enjoyable. Feel free to reply to me personally if you so choose.

A renegade from a parallel universe, musing about what a long, strange trip it's been.

Hi Dan'l,

Thanks for the letter and all of the compliments.

Bill Wilson made a bunch of remarks like "A.A. is not the only way" and "We know only a little". Unfortunately, you can't take those remarks too seriously because Bill talked out of both sides of his mouth, saying whatever was convenient at the moment. He regularly alternated between "A.A. is not the only way" and "A.A. IS the only way".

I couldn't find that Grapevine quote, but I found plenty of others. See the "Bait And Switch" item on "A.A. is The Only Way".

Also check out the Cult Test item, 11. Insistence that the cult is THE ONLY WAY.

About "Addiction is a Choice", oh yeh. I read that about 4 1/2 years ago, and loved it. It's on my "Top 10" list. I think it also contributed to my recovery a bit.

Have a good day.

== Orange

Date: Tue, October 25, 2005
Subject: sharing some info with you

you have great material on your site especially where it pertains to kid boot camps, and cults. Thank you.

Hi Marilyn,

Thanks for the compliments.

As for AA, i respect where you're coming from.

i've spent countless years going to meetings. you hear lots of assholes saying all kinds of things about drugs (medications), god and what have you.

you also hear lots of members countering those assholes (often at the same meetings), saying exactly the same things you say, and criticizing them for the same reasons you do.

I have never been to a meeting where someone has come down against drugs where there hasn't been someone (often me) who doesn't pipe up and speak in favor of whatever prescribed medication the person is taking including Psychotropic Drugs drugs.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
The fact that you have not seen something does not prove that it does not exist.

The very first friend of mine who went to a Dual Diagnosis meeting was immediately told to stop taking his doctor-prescribed medications. And I've heard it from lots of other people too. It is nice that at your favorite meetings you don't tolerate the "No Medications" dogma, but that doesn't stop it from happening at other meetings, does it?

Live and let live is a general tenet.

i've attended agnostic meeting regularly where the members don't rely on a higher power (very popular with the French and old lefties) .

i've been to meetings that attract what they call aa nazis — hard-liners, who are basically the types that seem to interest you. And I've often walked out of them. or stayed and argued depending on my mood and whether I think it is healthy for me to do so.

The "Step-Nazis" are only one of the many serious problems with A.A..

And i've been to meetings where primarily older people feel comfortable. I've been to women's meetings. I've been to writer's meetings. I've been to gay meetings. I've been to meetings in different countries all around the world. I've seen tremendous extensions of love and support among members. I've seen quite simply lives saved and lives repaired and happiness gained.

Yes, I have seen people regain their health and their lives by quitting drinking, too, but there is no evidence that such recovery was caused by A.A. meetings or the Twelve Steps... The recovery is caused by the decision to quit drinking alcohol.

Point is it attracts all kinds. Unlike cults which have charismatic leaders, AA is utterly democratic (actually more benign anarchy). It doesn't ask that you believe in god, and it allows for any kind of discussion around the topic. there are no rules. only suggestions. (I for instance have never had a sponsor).

No way is A.A. democratic. If you think it is democratic, why don't you hold an election and fire the leaders of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., who committed perjury in Mexico and Germany to put innocent A.A. members in jail for the crime of "carrying the message" to other poor alcoholics by printing and giving away cheap copies of the out-of-copyright editions of the Big Book?

You can't do it. A.A. is fake democracy. You can vote all you want, and nothing will change. You control nothing. You run nothing. You can't fix what's broken.

In 16 years I think I've been to only one meeting where someone was asked to stop speaking and that was because it didn't have anything to do with AA or anything.

How it works is simple. Before there were the steps, higher power, traditions, big book, it was just two drunks in a room in ohio helping each other stay sober.

That's the fairy tale. A pretty fairy tale. It has no connection with reality though.
Read the history of the Oxford Group for the truth.

And that's still how it works, the rest you take or leave as you want. "The conversion experience," if you will, is the point where you say i need help.

No, the "conversion experience" is when you say, "I really have to quit killing myself, now."

I've done both stayed sober without AA, and stayed sober with AA. the later is as they say easier way by far simply because it supplies support.

That is very questionable. The A.A. bad advice and misinformation kills a lot of people. Even A.A. trustee Dr. George Vaillant declared that the A.A. death rate was appalling.

in my family i have had both a mother and a brother die directly as a result of booze. It's a life threatening disease and a heartbreak to those who have to deal with it first hand.

It is not a disease. It is habitual behavior. And lots of us have had to "deal with it first-hand", including me. You have no monopoly on suffering.

If it (AA) works and I can say it does in so many cases where and when nothing else works, (mine for instance) then... so be it.

It does not work. A.A. has a zero-percent success rate above normal spontaneous remission. All that A.A. is doing is stealing the credit from the people who were going to quit anyway.

I have also had direct and long-term experience with a destructive cult, and believe me AA for all its faults and for all the ignorance of some of its members (remember we're drunks! not saints or even sane) is not a destructive cult.

A.A. is another cult. Read the cult test.

It saves lives when it works.

Well, it doesn't work, so that is the end of that.

and believe me anyone who suffers would welcome a new method either to supplement their program or replace it. After all the primary purpose is to stay sober.

Huh? You aren't making sense. Are you saying that you would welcome something that will replace Alcoholics Anonymous? Will you help to promote something that works better than A.A.?

You can stay sober without AA. I've done it, but you do it without the support of a community, which is where the spirit is.

Oh really now. What spirit? Cult cliquishness? "We are special"?

What about the spirit that you will find in a good church, like maybe your local Black Baptist Church? Those people really know how to celebrate the love of God. They really raise some spirits. A.A. has no monopoly on spirits.

best regards,
m. d.

You have a good day too.

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Foisting ineffective quack medicine on sick people is not
** a wonderful noble act of self-sacrifice to help others;
** it is the reprehensible behavior of a damned fool.

Date: Wed, October 26, 2005
Subject: hello again

Hello Orange....

I keep going back to your site and every time I do I find another piece of information. I've visited all (or most) of the other so-called anti AA sites and have found yours to be the most intelligent and well put together. What you present is information for people to make an informed choice. What others present is what I call.... Buy a Chevy because Ford stinks.....approach.

Thank you again. If you are ever in the Orange County NY area please let me know. I would love to spend some time with you in person.

Mitchell K.

Hi Mitchell,

It's nice to hear from you again. I hope you are well.

Thanks for all of the compliments. And yes, I really do try hard to get all of the facts and tell the truth. That's the single most important thing to me.

Alas, I live over on the left coast, so the odds of me dropping in for a visit next month aren't real good. But who knows what the future may bring?

Have a good day.

== Orange

Date: Thu, October 27, 2005
Subject: Dry Drunk

I was researching on line today and saw the paper "The Dry Drunk".

It is, unfortunately, not an accurate representation of Alcoholics Anonymous. It makes numerous unsupportable claims. What is most unfortunate though, is that it is presented as educational materials. How many drunks who might otherwise have a chance to get sober won't because of poorly researched and heavily biased material like this.

What happened to your own journalistic responsibility to write truthfully?

/*/Pete B/*/
//King George, VA//

Hello Pete,

Unfortunately, you have not listed a single specific item that you object to. You are just talking in vague sweeping generalities.

If you think that I'm wrong about something, then please quote the exact line from the particular page that you think is wrong, and tell me what you think the truth is, and supply a bunch of supporting information to back up your claim.

Essentially, please do just what I have done: Make a statement, and then back it up with supporting information from a variety of authoritative sources.

I really can't respond to your criticism, because there is nothing specific there to respond to.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

Date: Thu, October 27, 2005
Subject: Dr. Harry M. Tiebout

What passion so drives you to be so critical of Dr. Harry M. Tiebout. I've worked in the field of chemical dependency for over twenty-five years. Nothing seems to benefit the alcoholic or addict as much as AA, NA, etc. Do you have a better alternative? Let's hear about it. But, do hurry up. They are dying out there while you sputter about what you think doesn't work.


Hi Bernie,

When you claim that "Nothing seems to benefit the alcoholic or addict as much as AA, NA, etc.", I have to ask,

"What planet are you from?"

Or "What have you been smoking or drinking?"

Or "Have you simply never tried anything other than 12-Step treatments on your patients?"

I have repeatedly spoken about the alternatives, starting with the most successful program in the world, Do It Yourself, and then there is SMART, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and there is Addictive Voice Recognition Therapy, also known at "The Lizard Brain Addiction Monster".

Have you been using the same 12-Step quack treatment program on your patients for the last 25 years? Without any changes or improvements? You must have quite a vested interest in believing that it works, don't you?

You sure don't want to believe that you spent 25 years foisting quack medicine on your clients, do you?

By the way, how did you measure "benefit to the addict"? I mean really. How did you measure it?

Have you ever, in your 25 years of "treating addicts", ever done a single valid Randomized Longitudinal Controlled Study to test whether the 12-Step Treatment actually works any better than anything else? Or better than nothing at all? Where and when did you publish the results of your study?

If you didn't do any such study, then how did you determine that "nothing seems to benefit the addicts as much as" the 12-Step dance?

You didn't do any such study or test at all, did you? You just shoved the 12-Step baloney on your patients and then took the credit for the few cases of spontaneous remission, didn't you?

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Foisting ineffective quack medicine on sick people is not
** a wonderful noble act of self-sacrifice to help others;
** it is the reprehensible behavior of a damned fool.

Date: Thu, October 27, 2005
Subject: Thanks for your web site

Thank you for your web site. I've recently come to a similar conclusion about the program that you have. Unfortunately, I have not found many people who share the same perception that I do. It is refreshing to see an independent voice putting things together. I look forward to reading your entire site.

Brent S.

Thanks again.

Hi Brent,

Thanks for all of the compliments. I'm glad you enjoy the web site.

Have a good day.

== Orange

Date: Fri, October 28, 2005
Subject: Thanks

Clearly quite beautiful work Orange.

Read Bertrand Russell to compound your views further.



Hi Jimmy,

Thanks for the compliment.

I really do have to get around to reading Bertrand Russell more, one of these days.

In the mean time, have a good day.

== Orange

Date: Fri, October 28, 2005
Subject: Question

Hello, I really enjoyed your site. Question: where do the drop-out rate statistics come from and what were the circumstances?

I've been attending meeting off/on for more than 10 years, mostly off, as I was for the most part able to stop drinking with AA, however I succumbed to benzo addiction (which I also quit without help). Lately I've been going more often, but I don't want to get mixed up with the brainwashed types. I've found those guys are pretty easy to spot. Mainly I get a lift from the meetings and talk football with a few guys. I think about half the people who I run into at this meeting are not brainwashed.


Hi Mike,

Thanks for all of the compliments, and I'm glad you enjoy the web site. And I'm glad you are feeling better.

Now, for the really big $64,000 Question:
"where do the drop-out rate statistics come from and what were the circumstances?"

Oh, I'm so glad you asked that, because the answer is almost too good to be true.

The answer is, "The information comes straight from the A.A. headquarters. They did the surveys and collected the information and printed the results."

What happened is, the A.A. headquarters conducts surveys every three years, which are quite logically called "the Triennial Surveys". They ask all kinds of questions about their members, including, "How long have you been sober", "How long have you been in A.A.?", and "How were you introduced to A.A.?"

In 1990, they wrote up a summary and analysis of the previous five triennial surveys, called "Comments on A.A.'s Triennial Surveys", document number "5M/12-90/TC". One of the things that document revealed was that A.A. had a horrendous failure rate (or dropout rate, same difference). Eighty percent of the newcomers were gone in a month; 90% in three months, and 95% were gone at the end of the first year.

Here is the chart that revealed the dwindling membership:

Figure C-1 from page 12 of the Commentary on the Triennial Surveys (from 1977 to 1989), A.A. internal document number 5M/12-90/TC
Also see: Addiction, Change & Choice; The New View of Alcoholism, Vince Fox, M.Ed. CRREd., page 66

The A.A. headquarters decided not to release that information to the public, but somehow, Charles Bufe, the author of the book "Alcoholics Anonymous, Cult or Cure?" got ahold of a copy of the report, and talked about it in his book.

An arsonist set fire to Bufe's garage and destroyed most of his files on Alcoholics Anonymous, but, fortunately, the critical document survived, and has since been released to the Internet. You can see a copy of it on The Arid Site website, and I plan to put up a copy of it soon, too, complete with annotations.

Can you believe that A.A. has sunk so low that it stoops to burning down people's houses to suppress information about Alcoholics Anonymous? That's what kind of an organization it has become. (But then again, A.A. has also committed perjury in the courts of Mexico and Germany to put A.A. members in prison in order to protect its profits, so it comes as no great surprise.)

There is also other relevant information about the A.A. failure rate that can be derived from those Triennial Surveys. Michael did a perceptive analysis that revealed that the A.A. old-timers were missing. That is, when you look at the distribution of ages of A.A. members, there are far fewer old-timers than there should be. It's like most of them evaporated or something. Again, the source of information is the official A.A. summaries of the Triennial Surveys.

And then there is another summary of the most recent triennial survey that was printed in the A.A. Grapevine that revealed that 61% of the A.A. members had been coerced, shoved, or pressured into A.A. by the criminal justice system or the health care system. A.A's own documents reveal that A.A. is anything but a voluntary program of "attraction, not promotion." A.A.'s own reports show that it is a program of "coercion, not attraction."

Thanks for a great question.

Have a good day.

== Orange

Date: Fri, October 28, 2005
Subject: thanks


I was recently arrested for dui, and my friends and lawyer advised I start getting signatures, so I have been going to AA meetings for 3 months, about 3 a week. At first it kind of sounded good, until I tried to fit Spinoza's God into it all. I have a "sponsor" that has really been trying to sell me, and telling me to stop thinking so much. I tried to tell him about the ADD, and my inability to do so, but he, bless his alcoholic heart, is still trying. Hopefully the signatures will ease my probation some. So anyway, I am going, and I started to make a project out of it. For a while I was mentioning other ways to think about addiction, and I could see the eyes of a few confused people light up. I think a good way to get people to go to a site is to say something like "I saw this site, and they really bash the program. You should got see it, it is at www.xxx <http://www.xxx>.

The last meeting, I started not talking at all. And I don't say my name or that I am "just listening." The table leader made me say my name, "just so we all know who we are talking to." So I said my name, but no label. I am going to do that for a while. I am likely to be court ordered to go, and I don't know if my PO will be a AA advocate, so I don't want to get labeled a poor unfortunate, and subjected to even more treatment.

I had been doing a lot of reading, and ran across your site. A lot of my thoughts were reflected in your writings. I admit I drank too much (almost 3 sober now.) But I felt it was a behavior I got addicted to — an activity to which I related good times, etc. I don't see how a supernatural being will remove my desire to drink, and do so only when I actively profess that I need it. I guess the squeeky wheel gets to keep away from the lubrication!!! I hope you don't mind, but I printed a bunch of fortune coookie sized fliers that say "An AA MUST READ!!!:" followed by your link. I figure I can easily leave them around at meetings, and they will help someone realize what is happening to them.

taking your que, as well as SeaLab 2021's

Stormy Waters

Hi Stormy,

Glad to hear that you are keeping your head above water. Thanks for the compliments.

And I don't mind at all that you print my stuff and take it to meetings. In fact, I encourage it. Two other good things to print out and give away at meetings are the jokes and the Lizard Brain Thoughts.

Scroll down to the bottom of the "Lizard Brain Addiction Monster" file and you will find that I have already formatted the lists of thoughts for easy printing.

Likewise, at the bottom of the jokes page you will find text files for 8 pages of printed jokes. Enjoy.

Take care, and have a good day.

== Orange

Date: Fri, October 28, 2005
Subject: your purpose(s)

Hi Orange

Good to see that your site is back on the internet.

I have been browsing your site now for about a couple of years, and what you said was a list of essays which basically became and online book has pretty much become an online encyclopeadia (hate trying to spell that word).

Like it or not nobody can disagree with the facts that you have done much excellent research, and have one of the most controversial sites on the internet today.

Anyway after reading through many of your essays, introduction, biography, and letters, I cannot find any place where you mention what the purpose of The Orange Papers actually is. When Agent Apple had www.aadeprogramming.com her intent was mentioned right in the introduction, but I cannot see yours anywhere.

I guess what I am asking is what is your ultimate goal for this rather large site that you have

Hi Herb,

The simple answer is, "To get the truth out there."

Just that. The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

In fact, I was thinking about that just recently, and I came to the conclusion that if I could have just one wish about this whole "recovery industry" or "recovery community", it would be for everybody to just tell the truth.

Not for A.A. to die and disappear, or for some other group to gain ascendency; just for everybody to tell the truth.

I think that if everybody told the truth, a lot of problems would disappear by themselves.

If A.A. told the judges that A.A. is actually a religious social club with a zero-percent success rate in getting alcoholics to quit drinking, then judges would be very reluctant to sentence drunk drivers, alcoholics and addicts to 12-Step meetings.

Likewise, people wouldn't shell out $15,000 or $30,000 for a month of 12-Step religious indoctrination if the treatment centers honestly told people that was what they were really going to get for their money. People would be even more reluctant to part with their money if they knew what the treatment center's real success rate was.

And people who were seeking some kind of help to quit drinking or drugging could make better decisions if they were not misinformed by so many propagandists.

Yes, the truth. That would be nice. Just for a change.

Have a good day.

== Orange

[2nd letter from Herb L.:]

Date: Sat, November 12, 2005
Subject: Re: your purpose(s)

Hi again Orange and thanks for the response.

I was just curious if there has been any studies done into the effectiveness of "alternative AA" groups versus regular AA? By that I mean Agnostic, Skeptic, and Heretic AA groups which don't place emphasis on a Higher Power against regular AA which does

Thanks again and take Care

Hi again, Herb,

The simple answer is, "I never heard of any."

Have a good day.

== Orange

Date: Sat, October 29, 2005
Subject: anger


when my fiance died i got very little response from my so called AA friends..... the other day i attended the funeral of a good friend who was still in AA... i have been unreasonably angry lately..... especially since the funeral.

can just seeing old AA people for one day cause all this.?.. i have been AA free for 17 months.


Hi Tom,

It's good to hear from you, and I'm sorry that you are feeling poorly, and going through such painful changes.

You asked, "Can just seeing old AA people for one day cause all this?"

Well yeh, dude. You are describing some *very* heavy stuff, like the deaths of a lover and a friend. That is bound to cause a lot of intense feelings, no matter what else is going on.

And feeling like your old A.A. friends didn't really care about your fiance or really help your other friend is bound to leave a bitter taste in your mouth. That's just life. That's just how it is.

When I get into a mood like that, I do everything I can to just get away from the negative thoughts, simply because being angry about things that I can't change does me no good, and is just a waste of energy.

Like I wrote in another page, in another situation,

The only real cure is time. Just hang in there and ride out the storm.
Make sure you take lots of B vitamins.
Also get off of nicotine and caffeine as much as you can. If you drink coffee, put milk or cream in it to take the edge off of the caffeine. (Latté Brevé is good.)
Don't let yourself get too tired or too hungry.
Engage your mind in positive, cheerful things as much as possible.
Listen to good music.
Enjoy life.
Go for long walks in beautiful places.
Things will get better.

Have a good day and a good life.

== Orange

Date: Sun, October 30, 2005
Subject: Narcissistic web site

Narcissist Orange,

Wasted at least half an hour on one of your rants that I came across on the Internet then went to your site and thankfully wasted less time than that before I chose to write you off. Before I do so entirely, I would be curious to know just a few things:

Hello again, Chris. Go for it.

By virtue of what special training or knowledge, other than your ability to filch others' research, are you able to dismiss AA as a useless, hypocritical "cult"? Are you an M.D.? Psychotherapist, psychologist, PhD., or just a self anointed naysayer?

Now that is a demonstration of two propaganda techniques:

  1. Ad Hominem, Launch Personal Attacks On Opponents
    If you don't like the message, attack the messenger and attempt to silence him. "You aren't qualified to speak!"
  2. Create a diversion. When you don't like the facts, change the subject.
    Instead of discussing the issues, discuss your opponent in the debate.

The simple fact is, I can speak the truth without a certificate. I have enough education to understand what I'm reading when I study those doctor's reports. That's enough.

Do you now accept donations through Pay Pal? If so, are you no less hypocritical and greedy than Bill W. was when he sought royalties from Big Book sales? Please don't bother telling me which charity it goes to unless you're willing to provide copies of your tax returns...

Don't be ridiculous. You are comparing two completely dissimilar things. That's the propaganda technique called Compare Apples To Oranges. There is no similarity between Bill Wilson stealing the Big Book publishing fund, and stealing the copyright of the Big Book, and me accepting contributions.

Accepting contributions is the same as A.A. passing the hat at meetings, which is something that I have never criticized or condemned. In fact, I find that to be one of the more charming aspects of Alcoholics Anonymous. If the A.A. headquarters would stick to that, instead of committing perjury against A.A. members, then A.A. would be a more spiritual organization.

In the cult test, on the item The Cult is Money-Grubbing, I wrote:

The average A.A. meeting, where they just pass the hat, does not seem to act like that at all. A.A. would appear, to the casual observer, to be completely innocent in this regard, in spite of the fact that Bill Wilson lectured his fellow alcoholics to put more money into the hat in his second book, "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions"...

Likewise, in the cult test item Appropriation of all of the members' worldly wealth, I wrote:

A.A. passes the hat at each meeting, and that's all. Since many people come into A.A. in ragged shape, fresh out of detox, unemployed and penniless, nobody thinks twice about someone who doesn't donate. A.A. even has a seldom-mentioned rule of thumb to the effect of "you aren't supposed to donate more than $1000 per year when the basket is passed around."

I am not being hypcritical there.

While you offer the perfectly valid opinion that AA is not the only answer (in fact you seem to be calling for nothing less than its outright abolition as the result of groundswell movement that you would eventually take responsibility for in a grandiose testament to you as an avenging angel) and that there are suitable alternatives, I saw nothing on your site that would boast of their success rates, membership numbers, endorsements by the AMA or any physicians' group, etc. Why is this information not provided?

It is there. You just don't bother to read before exploding.

Try this:

In a sophisticated controlled study of A.A.'s effectiveness (Brandsma et. al.), court-mandated offenders who had been sent to Alcoholics Anonymous for several months were engaging in FIVE TIMES as much binge drinking as another group of alcoholics who got no treatment at all, and the A.A. group was doing NINE TIMES as much binge drinking as another group of alcoholics who got rational behavior therapy.

Put another way, the A.A. group was doing more binge drinking than the no-treatment group, while the rational behavior therapy group was doing less binge drinking than the no-treatment group. Follow that link to the study for all of the rest of the numbers.

And this British test of A.A. where one group got non-stop A.A. and a full-blown treatment program for a year, while the other group got nothing but a one-hour lecture from a doctor, telling them to quit drinking or they would die:

      Twelve months after the experiment began, both groups were assessed. No significant differences were found between the two groups. Furthermore, drinkers in the treatment group who stayed with it for the full period did not fare any better than those who dropped out. At the twelve-month point, only eleven of the one hundred drinkers had become abstainers.

That is printing results.

Again, follow the links. You really should bother to read the whole file on The Effectiveness of the 12-Step Treatment before complaining.

AA has saved my life. It has done what other self-help programs and psychiatrists could not. I care not that it's founder was not a saint and possessed character flaws just like every human being. But I am not a bigot-I believe there are about as many solutions to addiction as there are addicts and in fact the Big Book that you so despise pays tribute to and promotes cooperation with science, medicine, and religion, if not other forms of treatment. I would think your time would be better spent promoting these alternatives rather than engaging in the vitriol which seems to consume you. For the sake of your recovery I would hope that you find something more worthwhile than venting your hatred for all things Bill W. and AA. Are you happy in life? Or has your vendetta made you bitter?

Chris M.

Ah, now that is the crux of the matter, isn't it?
You believe that A.A. saved your life, so you just can't bear to hear any criticism of it.
Not even if the criticism is true.

The statement, "It has done what other self-help programs and psychiatrists could not." is obviously baloney. You quit drinking. Period. A.A. didn't quit drinking for you.

There is zero evidence that anything A.A. did made you quit drinking. You are merely confusing causation with correlation.

It's just like how girls (and their boyfriends) go to a church where a decrepit old priest mumbles a bunch of words and then declares that the girls are now married, and the next thing you know, those girls are all pregnant, so, obviously, that old priest made those girls get pregnant.

That goofy logic is the same goofy logic as saying, "I went to an A.A. meeting and then quit drinking, so A.A. made me quit drinking."

You say that you went to some other self-help programs.
Oh really? Which ones? For how long?
When, in your drinking career? What did you learn from them?

If you say "nothing", then I will have to caution you to avoid hypocrisy there, because I routinely hear A.A. members try to claim the credit for the sobriety of everybody else who ever went to a few A.A. meetings, no matter how many years earlier. The A.A. members say that those other people "learned something" from going to the A.A. meetings, and that is what made the drinkers quit drinking months or years later.

So how do you know that you didn't learn something from those other programs that eventually helped you to quit drinking later?

It doesn't seem to occur to you that no program worked until you quit drinking, and then any program would have "worked for you" after that.

You just happened to be in A.A. when you finally quit messing around and actually really finally quit drinking, and then the A.A. members talked you into giving the credit for your hard work to A.A., and into believing that A.A. somehow "made you quit drinking".

So why didn't you quit drinking earlier? Because you weren't ready to quit yet.
So why didn't you go to A.A. earlier? Because you weren't ready to quit yet.
You had not really decided to quit. You just mumbled about wanting to quit, without really wanting it.
You sort of thought you wanted to quit drinking, but you didn't want it enough.
When you were finally really ready to quit, when you really wanted it, you did quit.
A.A. involvement was coincidental and irrelevant.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

Date: Mon, October 31, 2005
Subject: Cult

I have been reading your "book" with great interest. I attend AA meetings and have been sober for twenty years. I used to consider myself a full blown member but I don't really see it that way anymore. You have obviously done a great deal of research and I commend you for it. I have not done the research you have but I'm sure many of the things that you have written are true. I used to be fully indoctrinated with the AA way of doing things but no more. I used to be a follower of Bill Wilson but no more.

I enjoy the people I associate with in AA but I leave most AA's alone because I do not agree with their character. I have been off of alcohol and drugs for twenty years now. I used to wake up with the conscious thought that I was an alcoholic but no more. I used to think of myself as a sick alcoholic but no more. I appreciate your website. It has really made me think but at this point in time I am not planning to stop attending meetings because I like them and have made a few good friends there. I hope you are doing well in SMART.

Hello Gary,

Thanks for the letter. Congratulations on your sobriety.

The social club is a reason that a lot of people go to A.A. meetings. That's okay. My objection is to things like deceiving sick people about the effectiveness of the program, and forcing people into it. That's a whole different ball game.

Have a good day.

== Orange

Oh, by the way, I am not exactly "in SMART". I haven't been to one of their meetings in about a year, either. I basically just don't go to meetings of any kind. I have other things to do.

Date: Tue, November 1, 2005
From: "marc"
Subject: Thanks

I am an alcoholic who has been troubled by the cult nature of AA for many years — just never had all the info to argue my intuition that things are not all right in the 'fellowship'.

I'm no longer going to AA and am doing fine.

I understand your need for a pseudonym, but I suspect there are a lot of us out here who will support you. Do you have a strategy for coming 'out of the cold'? How can we spread the word?

Marc de J.
Class of '83, University of Notre Dame, Indiana
Johannesburg, South Africa

Hi Marc,

Thanks for the letter. You can spread the word just by continuing to tell the truth, whenever the opportunity presents itself. For example, even if I did not exist, the information from A.A. leader Dr. George Vaillant where he tried for many years to make the A.A. program work but just found it to be a total failure, would still be there, and would still be just as true. That has nothing to do with me, actually.

But thanks for the sentiment, and yes, let's continue to "carry the message" to the meeting maker who still suffers...

Have a good day.

== Orange

Date: Tue, November 1, 2005
Subject: snake oil


I didn't read all of your web page, I found something that was false and won't waste my time reading garbage. Whew! You sure put a lot of stuff together. I did read until you started making things up and passing them off as actual program talk.

"Seek, through prayer and meditation, to make conscious contact with God." That is, conduct a s´┐Żance where you sit quietly and listen for the Voice of God to talk to you and dictate your work orders to you. Pray for the power to carry out those orders. Go do whatever the voices in your head tell you to do. (That is not a joke.)"

Go do whatever the voices in your head tell you to do. (That is not a joke.)

This is a false statement.

Nowhere does any eleventh step say to go and do what your head tells you to do. You made that up to try and discredit twelve step groups.

If you are really right then you won't have to make stuff up, you can just tell the truth and still be right.

Have a nice day.

James C.

Hi James,

Are you saying that you don't hear instructions and orders from "Higher Power", telling you what to do, or that you don't obey the orders?

I am not wrong about this point. This is old hat. Step Eleven is pure Buchmanism, another obnoxious piece of occult garbage that Bill Wilson copied from Frank Buchman. You do a "Quiet Hour" where you listen for the Voice of God, and wait for God to give you your work orders and the "power to carry them out".

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

The whole Buchmanite family participates in the Quiet Time.
They sit quietly with notebooks in hand, ready to write down the messages that they receive from God.

Now you can quibble about whether you hear a voice inside your head telling you what to do, or have the new instructions just magically materialize inside your head as "Luminous Thoughts", but the meaning, and the effect, is the same. Either way, it is the occult practice that Jesus condemned as "seeking signs".

As Dr. Herbert Hensley Henson, the Bishop of Durham (Church of England), said in his criticism of the Oxford Group practices that became Step 11 in Alcoholics Anonymous:

Groupism discloses in its conception of 'Guidance' precisely the same error as that which infects its conception of 'witness'. It 'seeks a sign'. It insists on something precise, concrete, calculable. Its temper of mind is rather Pharisaic than Christian. It seeks proofs of Divine action in what is abnormal, amazing, even miraculous. Its view of inspiration is mechanical, and its treatment of Scripture literalist. Thus it comes about that, even in the process of exalting the genuinely Christian conception of the 'guided life', it perverts and lowers it.
The Oxford Groups; The Charge Delivered At The Third Quadrennial Visitation Of His Diocese Together With An Introduction, Herbert Hensley Henson, D.D., 1933, page 70.

Have a good day.

== Orange

[2nd letter from James:]

From: "Colby B"
Subject: RE: snake oil
Date: Thu, November 24, 2005 9:50 pm

Wow, that's a lot of stuff to read, you must have a lot of free time on your hands. Most people who don't like AA just stop going and forget about it.

That's true of most cults. Most people do nothing after they quit the cult. That's how the cults keep on going.

I spent a lot of time picking NA apart, it's so easy. They define an addict is a man or woman who's life is controlled by drugs. They define drugs as any mood or mind altering chemical. Then they talk about how abstinence is the only way to succeed in life and their program but they serve coffee at their meetings and even allow smoking at some meetings. That's two drugs, caffeine and nicotine. What's up with that?

Yeh, what is up with that? Are you criticizing N.A. just for the fun of it? What's your point, besides the obvious fact that the N.A. and A.A. position on tobacco is hypocritical? "Killing yourself with alcohol or heroin or cocaine is bad. Killing yourself with tobacco is okay."

The Senators from North Carolina, the drug capitol of the USA, must be pleased.

Have a good day.

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** The A.A. Plan: "Search out another alcoholic and
** try again. You are sure to find someone desperate
** enough to accept with eagerness what you offer."
** (The Big Book, page 96.)

From: "Mark M."
Date: Wed, November 2, 2005
Subject: The Funny Spirituality of Bill Wilson and A.A.

Mr. "Orange,"

I recently quit drinking and attended AA meetings w/ an old friend for about two months. I too came to the conclusion that it was a religious cult or sect. I found the meetings highly entertaining for a while, and the writing of Wilson laughably bad. Needless to say, I stopped attending the meetings — after failing to find inspiration to write an assignment re: step 2, my "sponsor: stopped calling me.

I am impressed, intrigued and entertained by the info on your site. I am curious to know how and why you became motivated to compile such a database of info. I imagine there are some interesting experiences/ motivations behind all of your hard work and research.

By the way, I am still sober. One of my main complaints about the cult of AA is how the members seem to dwell on the topic of alcohol constantly, this probably contributes to the relapse and binging your research describes.

Thanks for an informative and entertaining web site.

Mark M.

Hi Mark,

Thanks for the letter. Congratulations on your sobriety.

The "why" is partially explained in these three items:

  1. Intro to A.A.
  2. Bait-and-switch treatment
  3. Friends driven away from help by the 12-step nonsense

And another funny aspect of this web site is that I never intended to do it. As I recently explained in an earlier letter, I started off intending to write just one paper that explained my objections to using A.A. as "treatment" for alcoholism. One thing led to another and it turned into an online book and a web site.

(The funny thing is, that's how my drinking started too — just a little bit, just one beer after work each night, gradually growing into a huge monster.)

Have a good day.

== Orange

From: "mike m2"
Date: Wed, November 2, 2005
Subject: Quick Thoughts

I have not read most of your website yet, but will keep reading it regularly. Without question it is a negative campaign, basically to trash A.A. and its founders. Since I have been sober in A.A. continuously since February 16th, 1990, I take offense to your condescending attitude and verbiage towards the fellowship.

Hi Mike,

Congratulations on your sobriety. So you have figured out that I want to discredit Alcoholics Anonymous? Well yes, for a lot of good reasons.

As a matter of fact, following your rational, I shouldn't be American either, just think of the womanizing Clinton and Kennedy did. The racism and slavery. I guess every religion would be a hoax too because somebody is profiting, and on and on and on. So why belong to anything?

That is an absurd nonsensical argument. You are just trying to minimize and deny and rationalize away all of the faults of Alcoholics Anonymous by implying that nobody is perfect. Denial isn't just a river in Egypt.

By the way, we ended slavery almost 150 years ago. When is A.A. going to change its ways?

Lets all cloak ourselves under some Captain America name, hide behind a computer and proceed to look for 'facts and support' of our paranoid theories' What you are doing works with anything, including the other recovery sites you are referencing. Heck, I could even nit-pick and argue and go to war with every sentence on your site, I will leave that to my sicker brother here (you).

Do you have any actual facts to back up your accusations? I deal in facts, and Steppers do not. How about some specifics, instead of vague sweeping generalities?

Again, you are trying to dismiss all criticism of A.A. without even dealing with any specifics. Telling precisely what is wrong with A.A. is not "nit-picking". If you think I am wrong about some point, please tell exactly what the line is, from what page, and then say what you think the truth is, and back it up with a bunch of references from valid sources or reliable authorities (like the Harvard Medical School).

By the way, my spirituality is a simple tool to help me cope with life. It is Direction. Hope. Purpose. No hocus pocus, look-at-me-I-am-special God, Cults or anything like that. (Which you are desperately trying to turn it into) A.A. has kept its promise and allowed me to seek a God of my understanding.

So far, all I've seen of your "spirituality" is hatred and anger. Or do you keep your "spirituality" in a box, to be pulled out only when convenient, and to be given to only the "right" people?

I came to A.A. at 23 yrs. old living off blood banks, dope deals and soup lines, today I am a nationally registered architect.

Congratulations on your recovery. It is wonderful that you finally decided to quit committing suicide and do something better with your life.

There is no evidence that any 12-Step cult had anything to do with your decision to save your own life, or your successful exercising of your will to live.

Oh by the way, since I've been in A.A. I have gotten a piece of ass or two also. (Horrible, isn't it? I suggest you immediately use it against me. That's obviously the type of pious you are)

The question is,

  1. "Did you seduce sick women by pretending to offer them help in overcoming their addictions?" (Bill Wilson did.)

  2. Also, "Did you use your status as an old-timer in the group to have an advantage over her?" (Bill Wilson did.)

  3. And, "Did you use the A.A. headquarters office as an employment agency to support your stable of mistresses?" (Bill Wilson did.)

  4. And were you cheating on your wife when you had those affairs? (Bill Wilson was.)

  5. And did you take two women to an A.A. meeting and fondle them all through the meeting, to show the other guys what a super-stud you were? (Bill Wilson did.)

  6. And did you yammer about God and spirituality while doing all of that, and claim that you were so much better than the other alcoholics and addicts, who just couldn't handle your lofty level of spirituality and practice the Four Absolutes like you could? Did you hypocritically declare that your fellow alcoholics and addicts just didn't want to get too good too soon? (Bill Wilson did.)

I don't think your claimed behavior quite rises to Bill Wilson's level of immorality, criminality, and hypocrisy.

Tell you what, I will give you space to grow the fuck up, space you are not giving members of A.A.

Thanks anyway, slick.

And thank you for your 12-Step spirituality.

Have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Foisting ineffective quack medicine on sick people is not
** a wonderful noble act of self-sacrifice to help others;
** it is the reprehensible behavior of a damned fool.

[2nd letter from Mike M2:]

Date: Wed, November 30, 2005 11:31 am
From: "mike m2"
Subject: FW: Why are you Mr. Orange? Why can't I be Mr. Black?

Hey Slick,

I just think it is so funny that YOU are telling ME what A.A. has done or not done for MY recovery. And you call Bill Wilson grandiose. Ha Ha

What on earth are you talking about?

CORRECTION: On re-reading that, I do know what you are talking about. It is easy to determine whether a program is helping people to recover. Just look at the success rate. With A.A.'s zero-percent improvement in the sobriety of people who go to A.A., it is easy to determine how much A.A. is helping people — even the true believers who insist that A.A. saved their lives.

Oh, that's right. We in A.A. are a bunch of mindless, loser clones that need the genius of Agent Orange to enlighten us with the "TRUTH" to set our minds free.

You are losing it. Are you off of your meds?

I am beginning to think maybe you are what you so despise. Oh, Again I forgot — you do it for all the right reasons, Bill Wilson did it all for ego.

I have been in A.A. 15 years and am not nearly as brainwashed as you.I rarely even give Bill Wilson any thought. However, Bill Wilson owns you.

You can stop meditating on Bill Wilson and A.A. anytime now. May I suggest a real Higher Power? Ha Ha

I happen to have a life and career beyond arguing about A.A.- I have nothing to prove, my life and recovery speaks for itself. If you say that I am angry and not spiritual because of 2 paragraphs I wrote you, well then you must be completely loon after what all you?ve been up to on your website!

And concerning all your essays on God, Character Defects, Anger, Confession, Smoking- YOU JUST DON?T GET IT, SLICK!

And yes, to self destruct is a mental illness, the problem does center in the mind, and yes, you are a great example of insanity!

I do find your web site "funny".

Okay, do you feel better now?

Have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** And the believers spake unto me, and saeth, "If you
** want what we have, and are willing to go to any
** length to get it, then, here, drink this koolaid."

Date: Wed, November 2, 2005
From: "Paint My House"
Subject: You must have a better idea, then...............

Funny, there were no solutions that you had to offer on that collection of negativity you call a website. AA has worked for millions, I assume by your bitterness it didn't work for you. Too bad. Did it occur to you the problem may not be with the millions of "cult members" but the one so full of bile that he/she feels compulsed to commit a website to it?

Do you think you are helping anyone with your information?


Hi Mike,

Well, actually, yes. At least, I get enough emails that tell me that somebody else feels that they were helped by hearing the truth.

Your assumption that I am "bitter" because "it didn't work for me" is wrong. I never worked the A.A. program. I never did the Twelve Steps, I never had an A.A. sponsor, I didn't go to 12-Step meetings for very long, and I never believed in Bill Wilson or his "Big Book". I figured out pretty quickly that it was a stupid cult, and walked out. Nevertheless, I have 5 years of sobriety now, mostly by the do-it-yourself program, with maybe a little help from SMART and AVRT. So *MY* program is working great, and I have no reason to be "bitter" about it.

If I am "bitter" about anything, it is from watching friends and acquaintances die while A.A. and N.A. totally failed to be of any help to them. And then listening to the true believers continue to mindlessly parrot "RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail...", which is grossly dishonest.

When you claim that "AA has worked for millions", please explain your numbers. A.A. is great at making sweeping unsubstantiated claims like that, but those claims fall apart when exposed to glaring daylight.

What a leader of A.A. found was that A.A. had a zero-percent success rate, above normal spontaneous remission. And he — Dr. Prof. George E. Vaillant, a member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., — was trying hard to make A.A. look good. Vaillant loves A.A. and thinks that everybody should get shoved into the religion so that they can "get an attitude change by confessing their sins to a high-status healer." Nevertheless, Vaillant had to admit that after nearly 20 years of shoving A.A. on his alcoholic patients, that A.A. didn't work at all, and that its death rate was appalling — higher than any other treatment program.

So when you parrot the standard A.A. propaganda that "AA has worked for millions", please explain where you get your numbers.

Oh, and watch out for switcheroos. The A.A. headquarters often claims that it has 2 million members world-wide (including duplicates, which can't be eliminated because everybody is anonymous). But that isn't the same thing as 2 million *sober members*. There is no evidence that they are all sober, and A.A. is careful to not release data that will allow us to figure out exactly how many of them are sober. The best we get is some percentages of the good members who fill out triennial surveys, which is a very different thing. Remember that a large percentage of the claimed membership is just people who are temporarily going to meetings, and who will soon drop out.

And most important of all is the false assumption that "A.A. works". Just because some people quit drinking while attending a few A.A. meetings does not mean that A.A. caused them to quit drinking. Many millions more quit drinking without A.A..

Most of the people who go to A.A. meetings don't quit drinking.
Most of the people who quit drinking don't go to A.A. meetings.

People do just grow out of it. People come to their senses and decide that they would rather not die that way, and they just quit drinking. They get sick and tired of being sick and tired, so they quit drinking. (I am one of those people.)

A.A. simply falsely claims the credit for all of the cases of spontaneous remission from alcohol misuse that happen anywhere in the neighborhood of a meeting. But all of the supposed A.A. success stories can be explained in terms of normal spontaneous remission. If you subtract the normal 5% rate of spontaneous remission from the claimed A.A. success rate of 5%, you get zero, which is the real A.A. success rate.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

Oh, and I have often talked about what else works. I have especially talked about SMART, which is based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and about Addictive Voice Recognition Therapy, which is learning to recognize and fight the "addictive voice". I also often mention SOS, Women For Sobriety (WFS), and LifeRing. And then there is the most successful program in the world, do it yourself.

Have a good day.

== Orange

Subject: wassup
Date: Thu, November 3, 2005


You are the man dude, that A.A. stuff sucks butt man, I am totally getting drunk to night after 2 years of soberity and going to that shit
thanks for saving me from A.A. Can I send you some money or somethin
you saved me from A.A. now I get to drink all I want. Fuck those guys!!Drinking NOW love it!

Eric B.

Very funny Eric. Whether you choose to stupidly commit suicide is your choice, not mine.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

Date: Thu, November 3, 2005
Subject: Your cult questions


I have just been reading your website. There is one error repeated in a few places. L. Ron Hubbard didn't die of cancer. Some believed he had pancreatitis — from heavy drinking most of his life. He was 74 years old. Here is an overall account:

The death certificate (linked on that page) said "cerebral vascular accident."

And an LA Times article:
On or about Jan. 17, 1986, Hubbard suffered a "cerebral vascular accident," commonly known as a stroke. Caring for him was Gene Denk, a Scientologist doctor and Hubbard's physician for eight years.

There was little Denk could do for Hubbard in those final days — the stroke was debilitating. He was bedridden and his speech was badly impaired.

One week later, at 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 24, Hubbard died.

Best, Eldon B.

Hi Eldon,

Thanks for the letter and the information. I'll have to fix that.

Have a good day.

== Orange

From: "John A."
Subject: cult question
Date: Thu, November 3, 2005 10:45 am


I am interested to hear the reasons why AA should be considered a cult?


Hi John,

Read the Cult Test.

Have a good day.

== Orange

Date: Thu, November 3, 2005
Subject: I Agree 100%

I am so glad I found your website. I am having to attend AA meetings because of a DUI. I just want to cringe when I have to attend them. I knew I wasn't in denial, but that many things just weren't right. It is a religious cult. Bill Wilson is the co-founder , which would be the same thing as a pastor in a church. The 12 Steps would be the same thing as the 10 Commandments. The Big Book is the same as the Bible. They say it is spiritual not religious. It's so obvious it's religious by reading the 12 Steps. I also don't like it because it brainwashes people into believing they are powerless. If we are powerless, then we are victims and victims stay victims because it's never their fault. Their misfortunes are always someone elses fault. Therefore, they don't have the power to change it. AA just wants us to brainlessly accept the steps and continue to go to AA meetings for the rest of our lives in order to maintain sobriety. I think when God gave us a brain, he intended for us to use it. I have so much more to say, but am pressed for time at the moment.

Robbi F.

Hi Robbi,

Thanks for the letter. I couldn't agree with you more.

Have a good day.

== Orange

Date: Sun, November 6, 2005
From: "Larry D"
Subject: Frank Buckman

I hope that you can answer a question for me. I have enjoyed many of your writtings, but cannot find an answer to one thing that I have often read.

I have often read about Frank Buckman that "in 1908 after a personal crisis, he had a "conversion experience"". Do you know what this "personal crisis" was?

I have looked and cannot find any answers to this statement. I look forward to your response and thank you in advance......


Hi Larry,

Thanks for the letter. That's an easy question. The young Rev. Frank Buchman was running a hospice for homeless boys and young men in Philadelphia. He got into a squabble over money with his board of trustees. He threw a temper tantrum and resigned in a huff and got on a boat for Europe (going vacationing on his father's money).

The way that the Buchmanites have rewritten history, they would have it that the trustees wanted to starve the poor boys to death, and Frank wouldn't stand for it. That is highly doubtful. (And so how did Frank's resignation feed the boys?)

Then, the story says, Frank felt twangs of guilt over his behavior, and repented in a church service in Keswick, England, and had a conversion experience there.

There is more on that incident in my history of the Oxford Group, here.

Enjoy, and have a good day.

== Orange

Date: Sun, November 6, 2005
Subject: Just read about April 2003.

Did they reinstate your page at any time? It doesn't sound like it. I think it is the paranoid climate of the times that is seriously endangering free speech. Agree with the majority or be summarily silenced.

Keep up the good work and don't let the b*stards win! Excellent site.


Hi Dreamwalker,

Thanks for the letter, and thanks for all of the compliments. No, I never got anything out of Yahoo, not even my email. They just sent a form letter and that was the end of that. No explanation, no apologies, no nuthin.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

Date: Tue, November 8, 2005
Subject: thanks

Dear A.O.

I have enjoyed your website. It makes me feel like I'm not crazy for not "surrendering" to the mind-numbing BS of AA.

Once again, thank you.

Hi Greg,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments. You help me to believe that I haven't gone off of the deep end, too.

Have a good day.

== Orange

Date: Tue, November 8, 2005
Subject: are you the one who wrote this? Are you an alcoholic ?


Yes, that is my work, and yes, I am an alcoholic.

But please, watch out for the definitions of the word "alcoholic".

A.A. uses three very different definitions of the word "alcoholic", and freely uses them interchangeably:

  1. An alcoholic is someone who habitually drinks far too much alcohol.
  2. An alcoholic is someone who is hyper-sensitive to alcohol, almost allergic to alcohol, perhaps a genetic alcoholic; someone who cannot drink even one drink or his drinking will spin out of control and he will become readdicted to alcohol.
  3. An alcoholic is an insane sinner who is full of disgusting character defects and moral shortcomings and resentments and barely-contained anger, and is a prime example of self-will run riot and instincts run wild and selfishness and self-seeking and the Seven Deadly Sins, although he doesn't think so... etc., etc., ...

  1. By definition 1, I stopped being an alcoholic five years ago.
  2. By definition 2, I will always be an alcoholic.
  3. By definition 3, I was never an alcoholic. I was always a nice drunk. People liked having me at their parties because I was so much fun to have around when I got high. (But, as one friend said, "Even nice drunks die of cirrhosis of the liver...")

Have a good day.

== Orange

[2nd letter from Gary:]

Date: Tue, November 8, 2005

So how does A.A. score as a cult? On a scale of zero to ten, where zero means that it isn't like a cult at all, and ten means that A.A. is really like a cult, I score A.A. like this: (Feel free to grab a piece of paper, and make up your own scores. It isn't like I own a monopoly on the truth, or anything...)

I do not think AA is a cult what so ever but of course water rises to it's own level.

Gary R.

Hi Gary,

You didn't bother to actually read the Cult Test, and score A.A. on that test, did you?

When I said, "Feel free to grab a piece of paper, and make up your own scores," I meant, "Read the test, and write down your scores for A.A. on your piece of paper."

All you have done is reacted without thinking. "A.A. a cult? Oh God no! It can't be, because I'm a member of A.A., and I like A.A., so A.A. can't be a cult."
That is not logical, to put it mildly.

Then you say, "but of course water rises to it's own level."
What on earth is that slogan supposed to mean?
You could just as easily say, "Mud sinks to its own level."

So why don't you grab a piece of paper, and read the questions, and read my answers, and make up your own scores, based on your own best judgement, and then send me your scores? (Please be "rigorously honest" — Big Book, page 58.)

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

Date: Wed, November 9, 2005
From: "Jack T."

get a publisher as soon as possible.

this is a treatise of importance.

good day

Hi Jack,

Thanks for the flattering comment. Alas, I am reluctant to think about publishing on paper. Paper is like so "dead-tree-ish". The links don't work. You can't cross-reference things easily. Color printing is expensive. Updates are impossible.

In a real sense, my book is already published, on the web. I advise people to download the archive files, so that they have the entire web site, and then just burn CDs for themselves and their friends.

Have a good day.

== Orange

Date: Tue, November 8, 2005
From: "Patricia S"
Subject: In favor of your Anti-AA Web site

Dear Agent Orange,

I am enthralled over your collection of material, which I have been able to look over only briefly. I appreciate it because it tells me that the impressions I was getting and the disgust I was feeling over certain portions of AA lore and the Big Book were correct impressions. I am cognitively impaired because of brain damage; though I am still smart enough to know what I am reading, I am not fast or astute enough to put my finger on what the issues are. Your Web site does that for me.

Great job.
Patricia S.

(I am not the addicted individual; I know the person who is, and have heard many of these AA excuses, especially the ones that Bill W. used to justify his 13th-stepping and to belittle his wife's attitude.)

Hi Patricia,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments. I'm glad to hear that somebody benefits from all of this.

Have a good day.

== Orange

Date: Fri, November 11, 2005

I have a husband at Hazelden right now. I thought I was the only one thinking this stuff... It is his second round of rehab there — he wanted to go back after he relapsed — I thought we should ask for our money back.

Yeh, really. Funny how they never give out refunds, or money-back guarantees...

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

To the other readers: Hazelden charges $15,000 for a 28-day stay, during which the major thrust is indoctrination in the 12 Steps. That guy shelled out $30,000 to have the 12-Step cult religion taught to him.]

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